The concept of using games for training is not a new idea, but Novel Inc. is taking, well, a novel approach to corporate training by melding serious games with micro transactions.
The serious game Empire & State is designed to focus on business and political issues. Players will be able to specialize in a number of fields including criminal activities and military strategy. Player progression will be handled through basic leveling up, but players will be encouraged to immerse themselves in the virtual world, chatting, negotiating deals, organizing virtual labor and even carrying out political campaigns. So far, this sounds like an intriguing but not particularly innovative MMO. That’s where Novel’s grand plan comes in.
The Vancouver-based company plans to make the title free-to-play, including microtransactions, a business model that is becoming popular in the online game field. The real goal here is not to attract casual MMO players, but to reel in big corporate clients who want to use the game for targeted training simulations. It’s a very interesting concept that hasn’t been done in serious games before. Typically serious games are either created specifically for a client, or developed and then marketed to the potential client base; Novel’s approach would allow the game to literally market itself for them, allowing potential clients to jump in and see what the game can offer with minimal effort on Novel’s part.
Empire & State is scheduled to be Alpha this holiday, and the website is taking Alpha applications now. You can sign up to be an Alpha player here.